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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to become a three-digit number

Suicide hotline
Photo: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Rockville, MD — The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is helping to transition the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a three-digit number – 988.

According to a press release, Congress designated the updated dialing code in 2020 and the Department of Health and Human Services, through SAMHSA, is investing $282 million for the transition. That funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget.

The 988 number is scheduled to be available for calling, texting or chatting nationwide beginning in July.


“Converting to this easy-to-remember, three-digit number will strengthen and expand the existing Lifeline network, providing the public with easier access to lifesaving services,” the release states. “The Lifeline currently helps thousands of people overcome crisis situations every day.”

Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SAMHSA notes that suicide was the 10th leading cause of death nationally in 2019. It was also the second leading cause of death among young people that year.

A CDC analysis published in 2020 and using 2016 data found that men in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction had a suicide rate of 54.2 per 100,000 workers. The overall average rate for men was 27.4. In addition, men and women in construction and extraction had suicide rates of 49.4 and 25.5, respectively.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 year-round at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

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